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Swami Nikhilanand Talks About The Devotional Philosophy Of The Gita And Upnishads

Neelu Sharma

Swami Nikhilanand recently gave a six-day series of speeches on the Devotional Philosophy of the Gita And Upnishads at the Sarva Dev Mandir in Oxford, MA.

According to Swami Nikhilanand, the Sanskrit scriptures of Sanatan Dharm are a fully coordinated system of spiritual knowledge whose aim is to guide the souls to their ultimate good. Among all of these scriptures, three hold prime importance: the Upnishads, the Gita and the Bhagwatam. The Upnishads give the knowledge of supreme God and teach that a soul has to desire God; they also briefly indicate the path to God.

The Gita is the essence of all of these Upnishads. The knowledge of God is scattered throughout 1,180 Upnishads. The Gita, said by Bhagwan Krishn, consolidates the Divine philosophy of all those Upnishads and gives a clear and precise understanding of several important topics:

1) There are three eternal tattvas (existences): God, the souls, and maya. All three of these have existed for ever and will continue to exist forever.

2) The soul is our true identity, not the physical body. The soul remains unaffected by the changes which we experience through our physical body, like birth, maturing, aging and death. The soul can never die. When this body dies, the soul takes another body.

3) This world has a nature to produce situations which are both pleasing and displeasing to our senses; to produce situations which give us both comfort and pain, hope and disappointment. These two situations follow one another in an endless cycle. This is the eternal nature of this mayic manifestation; it will never change. Thus, we must learn to accept the dual nature of physical existence and remain calm in all the situations. Someone who can do this is eligible to become God realized.

4) Following the path of God realization while living in the world is called karm yog. To do this, a person has to decide that the attainment of God is the first priority of his life, and then he simply fulfills his other duties in the world in a detached and efficient manner, with the feeling that his beloved God is always with him. This is called offering all of your actions to God, and this is karm yog.

5) Upon the perfection of karm yog, a person becomes qualified to receive the Divine vision of God. Arjun received this in the eleventh chapter. When Krishn Graced him with Divine eyesight, Arjun saw in Krishn's body what had been described in the Upnishads: that God has a Divine personal form, and within that form He is holding the whole universe, and with that form He is omnipresent in the universe, yet He can also be seen at one place, at one time. This is a very important philosophy which is made clear by the Gita.

6) In the end, Krishn concludes His teachings in the Gita by revealing "the secret of all the secrets" to Arjun: that if any soul comes to Krishn wholeheartedly, it is His promise that that soul will reside with Him forever. If a soul leaves all of his prideful efforts in the world and takes refuge in Krishn alone, Krishn releases that soul from the bondage of maya and gives him whatever he wants in the Divine world: either absolute liberation, or the Divine vision, or Divine love. Thus ends the philosophy of the Gita.

It is said that where the Gita ends, the Bhagwatam begins. The Gita ends with selfless devotion to God (bhakti) and the Bhagwatam explains the real form of bhakti, how it is practiced and what are the indications of true bhakti. Thus, the scriptures of Sanatan Dharm are arranged in a Divine style to systematically guide the souls toward the ultimate goal of God realization.

However, all of the scriptures advise that if a soul wants to receive the real benefit of this scriptural knowledge, then he should seek the help of a God-realized Saint who can explain the true meaning of these Divine scriptures and impart a practical experience of bhakti. The true Spiritual Master, who is one with God, has the ability to teach the process of devotion and to Grace the devotee with relational affinity for God. These devotional feelings purify the heart and ultimately qualify a soul to receive the Divine vision and Divine love of God.

(www.JKP.org ) is an international organization with four main ashrams in India and one in America, located in Austin, Texas, called Barsana Dham (www.BarsanaDham.org ). The main aims of JKP are to teach the true knowledge of the Bhartiya scriptures and to teach the practical devotion (bhakti yog) for the whole world.

JKP was founded by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, a respected and renowned Spiritual Master from India, and the fifth prime Jagadguru in the last 5000 years. Shree Maharajji's Hindi speeches are aired on the International Channel weekdays at 7:00 am and Saturdays at 12:30 pm.

(Neelu Sharma is the Treasurer of Sarva Dev Hindu Mandir. )

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